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Lads win PUMA USA Cup

Posted on 19 July 2009  - 12:00

Our Under-16s triumphed in the PUMA USA Cup in Minnesota on Sunday.

Lads win PUMA USA Cup

Our Under-16s triumphed in the PUMA USA Cup in Minnesota on Sunday.

Competing against Under-17 teams, the lads beat Charlotte United 2-0 in the final to complete the one of the biggest youth tournaments in world football with four wins and a draw.

They put a marker down early by beating Rockford Raptors 6-0 in their opening group game on Friday with goals from Stewart (2), Hawkins, McEvoy (2) and Young but were then hit by a late equaliser in a 1-1 draw against TSF Academy after Jackson opened the scoring.

Brooklyn Italians were beaten 2-0 in the final group game on Saturday with goals from Shariff and McQueen to set-up a semi-final clash against Snohomish United.

This was another comfortable win as goals from Hawkins, Coulthirst and Marti saw the lads into Sunday's final via a 3-0 scoreline.

Charlotte United provided the opposition in the final and any nerves were settled by Munns' penalty. They then defended well under pressure before secured the trophy with the second goal.

PUMA USA Cup

"The lads handled the pressures of the tournament very well," Manager and Assistant Academy Manager Chris Ramsey told us from Minnesota on Sunday night.

"We were very much the dominant team and scored a penalty after five minutes. We hit the woodwork, their keeper was outstanding and as the game progressed where we couldn't finish it off, Charlotte looked for set-pieces to get back into it but the lads held out well.

"We kept playing and eventually scored a fantastic goal to seal it, an eight-pass move that Darren McQueen finished with a lot of composure.

"Every player participated and we're all delighted.

"The staff were great, David Dodds, Danny Buck, Yannick Pearce, Stuart Campbell and we'd all like to thanks PUMA, especially Pat O'Brien, for their help as well."

Academy Manager John McDermott added: "First of all we're grateful for PUMA for giving us the opportunity.

"Chris Ramsey has managed to dovetail a tournament and a training camp out there and the group has achieved a lot.

"Obviously it's great to win the trophy and the lads played well in doing so but we've also been able to lay down objectives for the year, lay down our codes of conduct, the way we play and set targets for the year.

"We've had all the benefits of a tournament and a training camp.

"The squad had 24 hours of travelling and they adapted well, they played against Under-17 teams and American teams I've played against always have a physical quality so to give a year away at that age was a big ask and they've managed to overcome that."